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Aged; Body Temperature; Equipment Design; Feasibility Studies; Humans; Hypothermia, Induced; Imaging, Three-Dimensional; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Male; Middle Aged; Neoplasm Grading; Pelvis; Prostate; Prostatic Neoplasms; Robotic Surgical Procedures; Transurethral Resection of Prostate


OBJECTIVE: To study the combination of thermal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and novel hypothermic cooling, via an endorectal cooling balloon (ECB), to assess the effective dispersion and temperature drop in pelvic tissue to potentially reduce inflammatory cascade in surgical applications.

METHODS: Three male subjects, before undergoing robot-assisted radical prostatectomy, were cooled via an ECB, rendered MRI compatible for patient safety before ECB hypothermia. MRI studies were performed using a 3T scanner and included T2-weighted anatomic scan for the pelvic structures, followed by a temperature mapping scan. The sequence was performed repeatedly during the cooling experiment, whereas the phase data were collected using an integrated MR-high-intensity focused ultrasound workstation in real time. Pelvic cooling was instituted with a cooling console located outside the MRI magnet room.

RESULTS: The feasibility of pelvic cooling measured a temperature drop of the ECB of 20-25 degrees in real time was achieved after an initial time delay of 10-15 seconds for the ECB to cool. The thermal MRI anatomic images of the prostate and neurovascular bundle demonstrate cooling at this interface to be 10-15 degrees, and also that cooling extends into the prostate itself ~5 degrees, and disperses into the pelvic region as well.

CONCLUSION: An MRI-compatible ECB coupled with thermal MRI is a feasible method to assess effective hypothermic diffusion and saturation to pelvic structures. By inference, hypothermia-induced rectal cooling could potentially reduce inflammation, scarring, and fistula in radical prostatectomy, as well as other urologic tissue procedures of high-intensity focused ultrasound, external beam radiation therapy, radioactive seed implants, transurethral microwave therapy, and transurethral resection of the prostate.

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